Wednesday, October 31, 2007


So I read this really good book by Michael Frost, called Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture.
It was really good. Not just in a, "Oh, that was a great book! So thought-provoking!" way, but in a "Holy crap! Now what do I do?" sort of way.
Personally, I would rather books take me out of my troubles and make me forget this world. It's so much more convenient, especially for a stick-in-the-mud like myself.
Frost's thesis is that Christendom is dead, or in its death throes (Christendom being the sort of societal, cultural Christianity where "Christian" values and institutions are the norm, and part of the state, politics, etc.) He does not think this is a bad thing. I'd tend to agree with him: speaking in broad stereotypes, where the state has sponsored Christianity, it has tended to become irrelevant and far from its founder's teachings. Where it has been oppressed and persecuted (the early church, China) it has flourished, and stayed vibrant.
Anyway, Frost argues that institutional Christianity is also dying: ie, institutional churches. Like the one I attend. This is demonstrably true: most of the major denominations are dying off in the US. Again, Frost doesn't have much of a problem with this (here we mostly part ways: me, probably more because I love my church. It is my family. However, I think his arguments are strong; I want to disagree with him, but have a hard time arguing).
He argues that churches are like little social clubs, little country clubs, set up mainly to benefit their members. Sure, churches do good, but much of their time and treasure is spent building themselves up--investing in big buildings, staff, and using the congregation's time in committees and church activities. So much so that if you're involved and committed in a church, you might never meet someone that doesn't attend your church (okay, people you work with--but if you're involved in church, you wouldn't have time to get to know them, anyway).
I wish this were not true, but it is.
If we are to be salt and light to our communities; if we're to engage with the world, and fight against injustice, poverty, environmental degradation, persecution, and the like, Frost argues, what are we doing investing most of our resources in big buildings? In sundry activities? In

He argues that more Christians need to break away from the structures and strictures of traditional churches and establish small, nimble communities that band together around issues of social justice and service. That we need to make "church" a verb, rather than a noun. That we should invest our time and money in the places they are most needed: in our struggling communities, in people that are poor and oppressed, and not in big churches, slick worship services, and hardwood pews. Because, really, who in our communities that did not grow up going to church would ever consider going in to those places? In fifty years, will there be more people that would consider it? Or less? Should we be content with allowing people to believe that Christ's message is irrelevant, rather than, perhaps, that only the institutions are irrelevant? Because Christ is relevant to the poor and oppressed; he always has been.
For example: I heard of a local business owner who has mostly been hostile to Christians he encounters in his business telling a pastor that he gets Christ--he just doesn't get Christians. I can't really blame him. I have a feeling he would nod at a lot of Frost's points, and say, exactly.
I wrote a letter to Myanmar this week as a result of this book, asking for the authorities to free some dissidents they've jailed. I want to start writing a letter a week to different places, for Christians and non-Christians jailed and persecuted around the world. I can't do a lot of volunteer work with a baby, but I can write letters. I'm wondering if anyone else wants to join me. Maybe we could all research this stuff, and help figure out where to write? Sadly, there's not a dearth of causes.
The problem I've been having with this book, is that being me, I have been having a hard time being in my church. I look at all the trappings of my wealthy suburban church, and wonder: is this where God would have us be right now? Is God pleased by this church ? If he were writing us a letter, like in Revelations, what would it say? Again, I don't deny our church does good in our community, that its programs meet a lot of needs and touch a lot of people. I just wonder: is it the best way to organize Christians to be salt and light? Is there a way to unleash the time and money spent on ourselves to truly help those who need helping? Should we lean less on organization and paid clergy and staff and do ministry in an active way?
I don't like feeling uncomfortable, suddenly, in my church. I don't like thinking these things. I would like to just feel happy feelings about my church family.
But good books are like that. They tend to yank the rug out from underneath you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

a little worrisome

Not to advertise my poor child's intestinal health on the internet (brace yourselves) but she is still suffering from the trots. Still odd-colored poop, more frequent and liquid then normal, and (last night) in the middle of the night.
Should I be worried? She seems happy enough. She's nursing a bit more frequently and not eating as much as she was last week. But her color and energy is fine.
I'm just wondering if it's something besides kiwi, this many days later. And then D had some gastric distress this weekend. Are we contagious or something?
Which brings up this question: am I next?
Please say no, readers. Please.

Friday, October 26, 2007

notes on kiwi

  1. Lucy loves kiwi! You give her a tiny slice, and she demands another, then another! She nods as she eats it, as if to say, finally! You get the kind of person I am!
  2. You're very excited to see her loving a new fruit. You give her several slices.
  3. At the next meal, you give her a few more slices, then think: perhaps I should stop before she gets kiwi-induced diarrhea.
  4. You stop.
  5. Lucy gets kiwi-induced diarrhea anyway.
  6. When children get kiwi-induced diarrhea, they poop a lot.
  7. Kiwi-induced diarrhea smells kind of bad, and is a nasty color.
  8. It gets all over those hand-washable woolen pants you love so much.
  9. It contains small black seeds that also get all over everything.
  10. You give the child the phone to play with while you're cleaning her, since it is a big job, and you don't want her touching the nasty poop.
  11. She rubs the phone into the poop.
  12. Then she sees the nasty poop on the phone, and touches it, and (of course!) tastes it.
  13. She does not look nearly as excited about the poop as she did about the kiwi that produced it.
  14. It has been a long morning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I want to go home

We're comfortable here, in a familiar place, with a room to ourselves, a bed for us and a pallet for our child. Our food is great--my father-in-law is a great cook--and I'm having a chance to catch up with our family here in Ojai.
But I want to go home.
I keep thinking of the people who are cramped, in unfamiliar places, places that aren't even homes. I think of those people who don't have homes to go back to--or who don't know if they do. I think of those people who didn't have most of the day to pack.
I can't even imagine what my home city looks like. I feel so removed from what is going on--both in a good and bad way.
I wonder: how will San Diego respond to this disaster? What will the rest of the country think when they look on as we come back to a burned-out county? What will we do, as a community, to take care of each other? What will Dyami and I do?
I'm listening to KPBS right now, streaming on my computer. We listened to the broadcast all the way out of town, until we lost the signal in San Clemente. Somehow, I feel closer to these announcers--they all seem informal, as if San Diego were a family and they're giving difficult news. Will that feeling last?
It seems like New Orleans has had a lot of community bonding--but also a lot of bitterness. Is that our lot? I think the suffering in New Orleans was much worse than here--we're lucky that we're having our disaster in their aftermath--with all the lessons learned.
What will my home be like when I get there? What will we make our city into, moving forward?

Monday, October 22, 2007


There were drifts of ash in our front patio; the sun was a bright red ball, the air a putrid brown. It looked like twilight at 1 pm. The air steadily worsened inside. My parents stopped by on their way out of town--their house was in a voluntary evacuation zone. We're only about ten minutes away from them.
We decided to leave.
We packed our car with (hopefully) all our important documents, clothes, a roll of toilet paper (for a while, I imagined us in a refugee camp) and our computers. We prayed in the garage before we rolled out of our street, thinking that we were still in little danger of losing our house. But that was before we heard about the neighborhoods that surround our neighborhood being evacuated.
We braved really crappy traffic out of town (funny, you don't complain about traffic jams as much when you know people are running from 200 ft. flames) were surprised by a mostly happy baby, and made it to Dyami's parents in Ojai after only six hours in the car.
We're thankful to be here, in a familiar place, with family. Very thankful that the trip wasn't awful. And that we're further from flames.
We're not out of the woods yet--there are fires east of here, too. I'm not sure there's any place safe in Southern California tonight.
I pray that if you're in SoCal tonight, you're safe, and breathing clean air. May God protect San Diego.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

what we do in the dark

You'd like to think you could be productive there, in the dark with your child, like you're productive in the car, radio off, sitting in traffic, or waiting for a friend at a restaurant. You'd like to keep thinking and be creative, imagine and dream and plan. Because it's not like you're active, exactly, as she's falling asleep. It's not like your mind is occupied with anything that could be counted or quantified. So you'd like to think that time in the dark could be filled.

You'd like to, but you can't.

It is an emptied--if not empty--time.

It is a time to be still, to let the complete dark of the room surround you, seal your eyes with velvet curtains and drapes with just the lone green light of the monitor. It is a time to use the dark as the wine you wish you could drink. It is a time to count your daughter's fluttery breaths and the light touches of her arms. Or, it is a time to endure her pinching, to work on the patience it requires to nurse a child down to sleep. It is a time to let go of your plans, because they are out in the other room, in the artificial lights we created, and they must wait until your child is asleep.

It is a time of terror, if we are honest with ourselves, and we realize just what it means to let go of our plans and dreams and distractions. It is a time of panic, sometimes, when you realize there are no guarantees with children, that they could take five minutes to nod off, or you could be there--perhaps--all night. It is a time to be afraid that the patience you practice each night will not be enough, that the hours will pass too slowly. It is a time to feel the weight, that cold lead, of the knowledge that you are the first and last defense your child has against the icy bitterness that somehow we people seem to leach into the air.

It is a time of rest. It is a time of quiet. It is a time of stillness. It is a time of warmth, and becoming accustomed to a child's soft arms wrapped around your arm. It is becoming aware and awake, even as your child falls asleep. It is perhaps the first time you will be able to fall asleep with a human in your arms.

It is an every night time, long time solitary discipline, is what it is.
It is the last thing we want to do every evening, and is sometimes it is the last thing we do.

So no, you will not be productive, there in the dark, not if productivity is your goal. You will not be able to forget what you are doing, or will your mind elsewhere, like you can at almost any other time. There is something about the dark--the dark that contains your child's dreams--that prevents your thoughts from leaving.

Why? Why?

Why does Lucy do these things?
  • When I sit her down at the toilet, facing in, for her to go to the bathroom, she pulls the toilet down on her head. Repeatedly. Bang. Bang bang. Bang bang bang. It's a little autistic.
  • When I let her use our walking toy (also known as the laundry basket) she pulls dirty underwear out of the basket and uses it as a necklace. Usually it's mine. Why couldn't she use clean underwear, at least?
Way you know she's still your child: even the crazy habits are cute.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

practicing for nablopomo

with somewhat crappy, posts just to post! Huzzah!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I remembered

Guilt #12:
My knives are dull! So dull that I can't cut tomatoes with my chef's knife! And must use a serrated knife! Of which I have many! For some reason this is a problem! Not sure why!

long lost

So a good friend of mine from college, Todd, that I mentioned in an earlier "religious crank" post, out of the blue contacted me the other day after way too long of us not hearing from one another. I just got the email today, but he sent it before I happened to mention him online. (creepy!)
Todd, I think you should come out of the woodwork and comment! And everyone should visit the site of his fame, T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Cause I know he hates it when I mention that. (Or secretly likes it...not sure which.) Or, visit a more glorious current site, Cockahoop. (What's up with that name, anyway?)
Welcome back, Todd.


Since I'm on an 'I'm a crank, offending everyone with my religious extremism!' kick, I thought I'd share a funny juxtaposition I saw at Borders the other day in the Religion section.$
"Your Best Life Now," which I think belongs to the "Prosperity Gospel" wing of Christianity (ie, God wants you to be Happy! And Wealthy! Just send me $10.95 and I'll pray for you and you'll be as rich as I am!)
right next to:
"A Long Obedience in the Same Direction," which is about long-term discipleship. And a journey towards Jerusalem covered in the Psalms. A pilgrimage, if you will; saying our life is a long journey, and it requires much patience and perseverance, and possibly some travel mishaps.
It boggles my mind that these two books are shelved right along side one another. That "christianity" means such different things to people. Of course, I often struggle with how different my interpretation of Christ's words is from people who attend my church, much less people in different parts of the world that have completely different frames of reference than me, so perhaps it shouldn't surprise me.
Also, lest I get too persnickety, I should mention that I own "A Long Obedience" and have not read it through. It's a all those other classics I haven't read. So perhaps I shouldn't be so snide.
There you go. Does that seem odd to anyone else? Or have I just had too much wine?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

weird things I feel guilty about

These are in no particular order:
  1. I have lots of spots on my napkins. We use cloth--go me!--and when I first got them I wasn't as spot-savvy as I am now. So they have a lot (a lot!) of spots on them. They look like the What Not To Do example from a detergent ad. And now that they already have spots on them, I don't bother dealing with new spots. What's the point?
  2. Speaking of laundry, I'm very lazy about sorting. It's kind of a Rule of Laundry that you don't put red things in with other non-red things. Me? I stick reds and pinks with darks or lights. (No, not the cherry-red in with lights...more like light pink with light, dark red with black). What's wrong with me? Of cours,e I do this because I haven't noticed a down side. My blacks haven't turned pink, and my reds haven't turned black, so who cares?
  3. I don't shave very often. I.e. hardly ever. (For too much clarification: underarms, yes. Legs? no.) Look, I'm blonde, people, and so you can hardly even see the hair! I wouldn't feel guilty about this, except D really prefers if I shave.
  4. I hardly ever wash my car. I used to somewhat occasionally, but now that I have a young lass to take care of, I don't bother. Once, in college, I went a whole semester without getting it washed (parking it outside) and my dad had to get the top of it repainted.
  5. Other car guilt: don't wash the windowsheld much, don't check oil or tires. Ack!
  6. Eleanor guilt. Oh, how we neglect our cat.
  7. Not doing the exercises the various chiropractors we've been to have given me.
  8. That picture frame in the bathroom I've been meaning to put more current pictures in? Haven't done it.
  9. I don't really listen to much music. In the car, I prefer NPR. At home, I prefer silence, except sometimes at night, some quiet music. I like music, in theory. Just listen to. Isn't music like something you're supposed to like?
  10. Shouldn't I care more about my personal appearance? I mean, I try to look put together, but I really don't care about shoes, or handbags. I like sweaters and hats. But other than that? It's handy not to care about clothes too much when you're a cheapskate, but sometimes I feel like I should be more, well, chic. So I do my hair funny and call it a day.
  11. I'm somewhat bad at choosing movies. This is especially bad because I'm in charge of setting up our Netflix queue. Well, actually, not in charge, per se, but the one who thinks to go and add movies. But I feel bad when Dyami asks what we have to watch for the weekend, and it's an old episode of Fame and a documentary about credit card debt.
  12. And the biggest one of all: well, I forgot. I started this post with a really good, really weird guilt, and it inspired this post, and I was all excited to really put something odd down, that shouldn't make me feel guilty at all, and instead, I forgot what it was. I guess it isn't weighing me down with anxiety, after all.

Friday, October 12, 2007


So I've been thinking about my last post, and wanted to add some qualifications or feelings on the other side of my argument. Cause that's just how I play: I always get myself tangled up by seeing both sides of an argument waaay waaay too clearly.
I think I see the other side of this issue when I disagree about matters of faith with people who believe more things than I do. It's hard to argue with someone who believes more things. It's hard to say: believe less! Be less restrictive in how you interpret Scripture! It's easy to feel that you're lacking--or that other people think you're lacking--when you believe in less things. But the two things aren't necessarily the same.
I'll give you a concrete example. In college, I had a conversation with a friend who was of the Missouri Synod branch of the Lutheran church. I don't know a ton about that faith, but they are of the "more restrictive" camp in the Lutheran church. Their beliefs about communion are more like the Catholic line, that the bread and wine literally become Christ's body and blood during communion.
My friend, Todd, got rather heated with me (in a friendly way) when we discussed Communion. It's just not a literal thing in my faith, and hearing how convinced he was of it, I felt like there was something lacking on my end. Was I a heretic for not believing in transubstantiation? After all, clearly he believed more literally than I did, which would be a good thing. Right?
I'm a person who, despite her predilection for both sides of an argument, likes to believe clearly in things. If I'm going to go for the environmental movement, then I'm going to go whole hog. If I'm going to believe in Christ, I'm not going to pussyfoot around it. So it's always galling to be judged.
And believing that you have the Right Way in faith leads, well, to judgement. Which I know doesn't sit well with anyone.
I wish faith were easier to talk about openly. Without judgement. It's kind of like talking about politics, or parenting styles: unless I agree absolutely, I often end up feeling like a chump, or a judgmental hack. But if you absolutely agree, it's just not that interesting to discuss.

serious religion

I found that op-ed piece really interesting, because as a member of a faith (somewhat conservative Christianity) that gets lambasted in our culture a lot, especially by the crazy liberals I count myself as part of, sometimes I get tired of a certain hypocrisy in the left-wing treatment of religion.
Now I will say, I'm fully aware that other faiths that are not mainstream in the US probably have it a lot harder. Christianity, at least the cultural kind, is firmly entrenched in our culture. It's easy to be a Christian here, in many ways. So perhaps I'm just being whiny. However, I think that as The Religion of the US, we get our fair share of bad representations. When you see a Christian on most TV shows (Touched by an Angel excepted), they're usually huffy, prudish, and judgmental. Angela on The Office is one example.
What I thought was interesting in the article was the idea that a lot of our Western contempt for fundamentalists was based in the disbelief that they could take their faith seriously. Whereas we counted ourselves superior because were were above such ridiculousness. *
I'll give you a for instance. I was sitting with some writer friends at a holiday party a few years ago. We were quite a mix: a Wiccan, a semi-orthodox Jew, me, and a Unitarian. The Humanist asked the Jew (this is sounding like a bad joke) about his faith, and then started saying how, really, all four of us really believed the same things, that the faiths were basically alike. From her assertion, it was clear she wanted us all to chime in with Yesses.
The Wiccan agreed. The Jewish guy kind of smiled, and changed the subject.
Now, I can't really speak to what my Jewish writer friend thought of her assertion. He may have agreed. The conversation was uncomfortable enough that I didn't have the guts to ask him about it afterwards. I just wondered at the look of discomfort on his face and his lack of assent. If it had been me, I would have been a slightly peeved. I was slightly peeved. Because I didn't really agree with her, and sometimes I get tired at the liberal line that really, there is no difference in faiths, that they're all interchangeable, and that truly enlightened people would agree with that statement.
I think you can have respect for other religions (for example, I respect that the Wiccan belongs to a tradition that takes women seriously, or that the Unitarian admires other faiths and seeks to understand them, while finding the beauty in all of them), but still realize that there are fundamental differences between them, and that agreement in ethics is not all--and that you have to acknowledge that, say, a Jew, Muslim, and Christian have serious differences in theology--not to mention a Hindu or Buddhist or Wiccan or Mormon or Scientologist. They have some overlapping ideas--Golden Rules and all that, but the faiths have different feels, different world views.
Perhaps it's akin to me saying "Oh, I'm color-blind" when it comes to different ethnicities--which, really, is a little presumptuous. People's ethnicities often have a big effect on who they are--so for me to say ethnicity doesn't matter is to deny the possibility that it does.
Current liberal culture values tolerance--"there is no difference, everyone is right" tolerance--over all. The only thing we won't tolerate is, well, intolerance. So a faith like evangelical Christianity (or some strains of Islam), which dares to say this is The Way, is foolish, or heretical. In other words, if we take Christ's words seriously--or at face value, we're unenlightened.
I respect your right to disagree with me. Heartily. The post may make some people mad, or offend them. It's really not my goal: more, I just hate pussyfooting around this issue with friends that are not of my faith...worrying that they'll be offended by, what is to me, a central tenet of my belief system. And maybe they wouldn't be--maybe it's more of my hangup. I don't know. But the op-ed piece made me feel like someone had spoken about the elephant in the room, and helped me to acknowledge to myself that yes, sometimes I am really out of step with our culture, and it's not necessarily because I'm wrong.
Personally I find the claims of Christ to be The Way troubling myself. Sometimes--most of the time--I don't like the proselytizing that such claims would make necessary. Really, it's more of my style to be of the "they're all beautiful and essentially the same" camp. And then there are all of the real problems of violence and hatred that fundamentalism of any kind can breed. And yet--I still choose to be a Christian, and thus must reconcile my wants with the demands of my faith, as I understand them.
I guess what I'm asking is this: is it possible for 'intolerance' to be part of the fabric of a faith? So that to ignore it, or belittle it, is to belittle the faith, as well? Is it possible to be tolerant--to a point--of other faiths, while saying, I disagree with them, fundamentally?
I guess what I finally liked about the op-ed piece (is any of this actually addressing the piece) is the smugness, the hypocrisy, and the self-satisfaction of our culture. We're free to criticize the Taliban for destroying beautiful sculptures of Buddha, but are complacent when our modernist, relativistic world-view changes or eclipses more traditional world-views. We criticize the (peaceful) "intolerance" of some faiths, while ignoring the intolerance of our viewpoint. And we refuse to take seriously those who would actually believe in their beliefs.
I would like to know how to balance those two sides of the coin--real knowledge, tolerance, and appreciation for other faiths, while still finding that I disagree--and being able to say that, publicly. I would like to be enough out of our monolithic Enlightenment culture to be able to sense my own hypocrisy on this issue. And I'd like to be able to have a real dialogue with people of all faiths about how we learn about each other--while still agreeing to disagree.

*I don't exactly want to be counted with the Taliban in my pursuit of serious faith. There's serious where you keep an eye on love, and there's serious where love is abandoned in the pursuit of seriousness. One has to remain firmly in the first camp.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Saw this very good, scathing op-ed piece in the NY Times. I'm curious to know what people think. Might try posting about it when I'm not typing 1-handed.

nanu nanu

signed up for NaBloPoMo or whatever it's called. Possibly regretful. Still going to do it. Going to post short stuff. Every day in Nov. (no pronouns and abbrev.'s help, no?) Not going to post on the Sabbath. Okay, maybe just a little. Trying to be inspired, or inspiring. Or something. Waiting for the accolades, the millions of new readers.
Still waiting.
Will post cool graphics and links soon. Figuring things out.
Join me.

conscious consumer meme

Aaaah! A meme! That requires thoughtful posting.
Thanks a lot, Megan.
Fine print:

Here’s how it works: post the directions on your blog, tell everyone who tagged you, answer the questions, and tag five or more people. That’s it! And if you want to grab the graphic to put on your blog as well, feel free.

The purpose of this meme is to inspire some reflection about how we shop and what we purchase. The idea isn’t that consumption itself is somehow bad, but that we all could probably stand to put a little bit more thought into what we buy. And, of course, it’s supposed to be fun.

So here goes! Pick a recent shopping trip — for clothes, shoes, groceries, doesn’t matter. The only guideline is that it will be easier to play if you purchased at least a few things.

Now tell us, about your purchases:

1. What are you proud of?
2. What are you embarrassed by?
3. What do think you couldn’t live without?
4. What did you most enjoy purchasing?
5. What were you most tempted by? (This last one may or may not be an actual purchase!)

here goes. Like Megan, I haven't done much shopping lately. Have been trying to quit.
  1. Organic chicken. Man, the stuff is expensive, but after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, I just can't do the conventional stuff unless I have to. So to make up for it, I bought more beans rather than the other meat I was planning on. Aren't I green?
  2. Hmmm, embarrassment. Way too much oatmeal? My shopping trip two weeks ago was more exciting/embarrassing. I restocked on tequila and rum, and bought those strawberry fruit bars and some frozen strawberries to use as margarita mix. I shop at Henry's, and they don't have regular mixers. I think on that trip I bought some Beano, too. See, remember how I said I stocked up on beans instead of beef? Wellllll...
  3. I got some gluten-free flour that I've been using recently to make zucchini bread. When you've been wheat-free for a while, bread products are extremely exciting.
  4. I like getting things from bulk bins. Red lentils are pretty. Oh, and on a previous trip, I got Lucy some baby shampoo, and it was fun getting the nice expensive, all-natural stuff. She deserves it.
  5. I'm tempted by the Thai simmer sauces. The problem is, D doesn't like the Thai curries, and many of them contain either milk, soy or wheat. So I always put them down.
Okay, Diana!, Susan! and, um. Alegra! And Melissa! (No pesky baby excuses either, Melissa! I expect a post!) And--that's all the bloggers I know personally.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

brain is dead

I would like to post, but my brain is dead.
But if I were to post, here's what I would say:
Dyami's doing an exciting project involving a stop-frame animation software program he wrote for his brother. He's going to try to polish it and sell it to animators (anyone who has used it on Jamie's projects has been dying to buy it). I am on board with this project. I want him to finish it! And make billions of dollars for us! I even want to write the manual for it!
But when Dyami gets home from his day job, I hate that he has to go work on it.
I want to complain about it, but I agreed that I would look after Lucy when he got home, even though (sigh) I have to make dinner and everything! And keep her happy, even though I keep her happy all day. And when he gets home, that's just the not-so-pleasant part of the day, where both she and I are tired and cranky.
What is it about those hours from 4:30 to bedtime (hers) that just suck the mop? Why do I want to poke my eye out every time D gets home, plays with Lucy for a few minutes, and then--ahhhh!--shuts himself in with a computer in the other room?
He's been working on this thing for a few days, and has made great progress. I keep asking for progress reports. Cheerily, so it won't seem like I'm breathing down his neck.
How's it going, dear? Made good progress? How much progress? How many more hours do I have to do solo baby care? Hmmmmm????
So, that's my brain-dead post. It wasn't so bad. Was it?


So I think it's official. Lucy is nodding.
Well, she's actually been nodding for a while, but she seems to be nodding yes. Which is not just cute, but useful.
I think this is about the most useful skill in the whole wide world.
Momma Q: Do you want more?
Lucy: Nods, smiles.

Lucy: Unrecognizable hand gesture.
Momma Q: Does that mean "Nurse?"
Lucy: Nods, smiles.

Momma Q: Are you just the cutest, smartest baby ever?
Everyone: Nods, smiles.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

meditation on walking

So Lucy is sort of walking. Just little steps, the kind of practicing that will blossom into full-blown walking in a matter of days? Weeks? We'll see, but there's definitely a new movement happening. It's quite exciting. Things I'm noticing:
  • She's been practicing like a madwoman. The last week or so, she pushes chairs, tupperware, laundry baskets, or any kind of box all around the house (except for the carpet, where things don't slide as well.
  • She likes to be near us when she takes a step. Right now she'll stand up in the crook of my legs while I'm sitting on the floor. Then she stands and gets her balance, and I move away quickly so she'll walk to me. But she won't just stand while hanging on to something and walk away from it.
  • She still doesn't trust herself. After a step or two, she immediately kneels. But just tonight, she started to kneel, righted herself, and walked another step or two. It's got to be scary moving through the air like that.
  • She is extremely, extremely pleased with herself.


So I went to a gathering for my thesis advisor's students yesterday. She's a lovely woman, a former modern dancer, with thick hair, large eyes, and an apartment right on the ocean in Solana Beach. It was a nice place for a grown-up party--a little alcohol, a cheese spread, and people that have read more poetry than you can shake a stick at.
I came with a diaper bag and Lucy in a sling.
It was a weird feeling to be there with my fellow students, try to talk about what we're all up to, and keep Lucy from eating the dirt in the planter.
It actually went better than I thought when I arrived. I mean, any time I come to a non-baby-friendly space, my stress level goes up. You just can't tell how non-baby-friendly someplace is until you set the baby down and see what happens. Luckily, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
The most awkward time for me was the circle, where each writer talked about what we were going to do after the MFA program--and listened to the two graduates who were nice enough to be there.
I was fourth. So for four people, I had to think about the non-career direction my life is going, how I'm really okay with that, thank you very much, it's what I want.
Except it still makes you feel weird or dumb or just out of touch when you have to talk about finding the little bit of time to write between feedings and diaper changes.
I think I want to move to Botswana (site of the Ladies #1 Detective Agency novels). there, people know how to be better, rather than trying to achieve all the time. That would make things easier, right?
I left the gathering early, saying that Lucy was getting ancy, but it was more me: the effort it involves keeping her quiet and occupied in an adult gathering is considerable, and also, I just was tired. Tired of the effort, of the internal monologue in my head, and of the day.
I went home, back to the safe place we've created, and felt much better. I think.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Why is it that children won't perform on command?
Lucy has cool new skills: waving, doing high-five, taking first steps, dancing.
But she won't reliably perform them for naysayers.
People, please tell me: what is the point of having a child if they won't perform on cue? why have I been getting up in the middle of the night?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I was thinking of Hack Mommy and her new baby, and thought about the ages of her current kids--seven, four, nearly two. And I thought, adding the ages together, but how could she have had all those kids--there wasn't time. Then I realized that you don't add children's ages together to figure out how long it's been since you first became a mom. It just feels like you do.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Whenever Lucy hears music, she stands up, waggles her hips back and forth, and then bobs up and down.
It's very cute.
Today, we just said "dancing" and she started.
My brain sort of fast-forwards through, and thinks--she loves music! She'll be a dancer! She will have preternatural affinity for rhythm! People of color will say, dang! that white girl can groove!
But Lucy's just dancing. She's just dancing how she dances, because it gives her joy.
well, that, and because we laugh at her crazy antics.